Northern Ireland

Council says contact Craigyhill bonfire builders over risk assessment

The Craigyhill bonfire in Larne, Co Antrim
The Craigyhill bonfire in Larne, Co Antrim

A council on whose land a huge Eleventh Night bonfire is being built has said the organisers of the loyalist pyre should be contacted about its risk assessment.

Building work is underway at the controversial pyre in the Craigyhill area of Larne, which is just a short distance from where 36-year-old John Steele fell to his death while helping to build a bonfire in the Antiville area last year.

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The land on which Craigyhill bonfire is being built is held on a long term lease by Mid and East Antrim council.

Asked if the council has a risk assessment linked to the pyre a council spokesman referred the Irish News to the organisers.

“This is not a council-run event," he said.

"The organisers should be contacted in respect of risk assessments."

Risk assessments are often carried out by public and other bodies to consider health and safety issues.

It is understood elected representatives at Mid and East Antrim council are due to be briefed on the legal situation on Wednesday.

A spokesman said: “Council continues to engage with community representatives and work closely with our statutory partners through the Cultural Celebrations Working Group.

"A normal part of council business is to hold regular meetings with elected members.”

Last week Guinness World Records confirmed they have no plans to send an adjudicator to the Craigyhill Eleventh Night bonfire.

A pyre at the same site last year reached a height of around 202ft - which organisers claim is an unofficial world record.

They say last year's height was not officially recognised as the cost of bringing a Guinness World Record adjudicator to the site was too high.

Organisers have since disabled new donations to the specially set up GoFundMe page to cover the cost of adjudication.

Belfast based SDLP councillor Carl Whyte had voiced concerns about the pyre and wrote to Guinness World Records.

Read More : What are eleventh night bonfires?

Mr Whyte later said the "prospect of obtaining a Guinness world record is unfortunately encouraging bonfire builders to attempt to build pyres to heights which are extremely dangerous, posing a risk to the local community and to bonfire builders themselves".

In a statement to the Irish News Guinness World Records said: "We have not received an application for the upcoming event and have no plans to send an adjudicator."

John Steele died after falling from a bonfire in Larne last year
John Steele died after falling from a bonfire in Larne last year

The man who died last year, John Steele, is said to have been an experienced bonfire builder and had been involved in helping to construct the local pyre for many years.

The ground on which the bonfire was being built is owned by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

It has been reported that the council was facing legal action from relatives of the dead man.